Lois Levinson

In Darkness

Migrating birds
cross the disc
of the full moon,
silhouettes flitting
on a white screen,
like moths caught
in a searchlight beam.

But a moonsworth
is only a fragment of sky,
the visible just an inkling
of all that moves
in darkness.

Coyote, venerable dignitary
of the country of night,
swaggers past me
on his nightly patrol.

A family of mule deer,
antlers moon-silvered,
browses on dried grasses,
the old buck
keeping an eye
on the interloper.

A great horned owl
looms high
in the scaffolding
of a dead cottonwood,
scrutinizing all.

What I know is of little use here.
Furless and featherless,
I’ve forgotten the nocturnal
language of shadows,
the song of bare branches
as they fracture the moon.


Editor’s Notes:

The rich imagery of the dark nights and the moon fills this poem with a melancholy tone, and the last stanza cinches all those images into the futility of human knowledge. The assonance in almost every stanza is captivating.


Lois Levinson is the author of one book of poems, Before It All Vanishes, and a chapbook, Crane Dance, both published by Finishing Line Press.  Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Canary Journal, Global PoemicGyroscopeThe Carolina Quarterly, The MacGuffin, Cloudbank and other journals. She lives in Denver, Colorado where she is quarantining, birding and working on her second book.

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